Opioids are a category of drugs that are highly addictive. They are derived from opium, which comes from the poppy plant, and have a significant effect on the brain. These drugs are often legally prescribed to treat pain for many medical conditions and injuries. However, they are often misused as a person develops a serious dependence and are also available in illicit forms.
Opioid addiction can quickly develop. Even when a person takes these drugs legally to treat their chronic pain, they can become dependent on them. This explains why there is such a big substance use disorder problem involving these drugs across the United States. It’s important to understand which drugs are considered opioids and what they can achieve.
What Are Some of the Most Common Opioids?
There are many different examples of opioid drugs. Those that can be prescribed by a doctor to treat pain and even addiction include oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and methadone, which is frequently used to treat heroin addiction.
Fentanyl is another type of opioid drug. However, it is a synthetic substance that’s used to treat severe pain, usually that which is associated with advanced cancer. In some cases, fentanyl is illegally made and is widely distributed as a way to get a quick high. Unfortunately, it’s led to serious addiction problems and even death.
Heroin is another common type of opioid drug. It’s highly addictive and illegal, often used through injection, snorting or smoking. Many people with substance use disorders involving this drug overdose and die.
Regardless of the specific opioid drug, these substances are available in a variety of forms. They come in tablets, capsules, solutions, liquids and even suppositories.
How Do Opioid Drugs Affect the Body?
When a person takes a low dosage of opioids that are prescribed by a doctor, they can get the benefit of pain relief. At the same time, it’s also common to experience drowsiness, calmness, increased respiration, a sense of euphoria, concentration problems, constricted pupils, constipation, nausea, vomiting, sweating and appetite loss. Higher doses of opioid drugs can cause more intense side effects to occur, but there are different factors that can impact how the drug can affect you. They include the following:
• The amount of the drug that’s used
• Length of time opioids have been used and how often they’re used
• How the drug is taken
• The person’s age
• The person’s moods, environment and expectations
• Preexisting medical or mental conditions
• Whether the person has taken other drugs or alcohol
How Long Do the Effects of Opioids Last?
The effects of opioids can be felt for different lengths of time depending on how they are taken. If a person ingests the drug, they can experience the side effects within 10 to 20 minutes. However, if the person injects the drug, the effects are more immediate. If opioids are taken legally to alleviate pain, it can take varying lengths of time before the effects are felt, but one dose could ease pain for around four to five hours.
How Addictive Are Opioids?
Opioids can be safe for some people to take medically while under the supervision of a doctor, but they can be addictive. This is especially true for anyone who has a history of substance use disorder. Regular use can also result in physical dependence on the drug. This leads to withdrawal symptoms being felt several hours or days after taking opioids depending on the specific drug.
If a person develops symptoms of withdrawal, they can serve as a warning sign. Common withdrawal symptoms include the following:
• Abdominal cramps
• Jittery feeling
• Running nose
Some people may also experience insomnia and anxiety.
When Are Opioids Dangerous?
Opioids are depressants, which means they slow down the central nervous system and brain. This affects the respiratory system. If a person takes these drugs for reasons other than legitimate medical purposes, it can lead to serious addiction and might even be life-threatening.
When people abuse opioids just to get that euphoric high sensation, it could lead to trouble. If the drug is used intravenously, it can increase the risk of contracting serious illnesses such as HIV and hepatitis. Even if a person does not contract these diseases, injecting opioids can damage their veins.
Pregnant women who abuse opioids can have serious risks that affect their babies. Premature birth and withdrawal in the baby can occur.
If you’re finally ready to admit you have a problem and need help, contact us at 302-842-2390. We can find you the best treatment facility to fit your needs.